3 years ago

Spectral purity and tunability of terahertz quantum cascade laser sources based on intracavity difference-frequency generation

Mikhail A. Belkin, Annamaria Campa, Michele De Regis, Miriam Serena Vitiello, Jae Hyun Kim, Masahiro Hitaka, Kazuue Fujita, Seungyong Jung, Paolo De Natale, Shovon Pal, Luigi Consolino, Saverio Bartalini, Akio Ito

Terahertz sources based on intracavity difference-frequency generation in mid-infrared quantum cascade lasers (THz DFG-QCLs) have recently emerged as the first monolithic electrically pumped semiconductor sources capable of operating at room temperature across the 1- to 6-THz range. Despite tremendous progress in power output, which now exceeds 1 mW in pulsed and 10 μW in continuous-wave regimes at room temperature, knowledge of the major figure of merits of these devices for high-precision spectroscopy, such as spectral purity and absolute frequency tunability, is still lacking. By exploiting a metrological grade system comprising a terahertz frequency comb synthesizer, we measure, for the first time, the free-running emission linewidth (LW), the tuning characteristics, and the absolute center frequency of individual emission lines of these sources with an uncertainty of 4 x 10–10. The unveiled emission LW (400 kHz at 1-ms integration time) indicates that DFG-QCLs are well suited to operate as local oscillators and to be used for a variety of metrological, spectroscopic, communication, and imaging applications that require narrow-LW THz sources.

Publisher URL: http://advances.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/short/3/9/e1603317

DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1603317

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